I used to whine and moan in my youth that I had such a hard life because I didn't get to do or didn't have what my peers had.
But I had no idea what real difficulty was. Real gut-wrenching, heart-squeezing, painful stuff.
Until I got married.
I joke with Hubby that we must have conflicting Karma. We got to be happy for about five minutes one day, and then it all went to shit.
My notion of the perfect life that I always wanted went down the drain; not all at once, but gradually, slowly, in a swirling motion that's still spinning. I had my life planned, and it seemed to be going down the path of that plan.
Until it wasn't any more.
So what is the hardest thing I've done in the past eleven years I've been married?
Was it the infertility I experienced after being certain I would have a house full of children?
Was it learning, once I was finally pregnant, that one of my precious babies would be born with a birth defect that would plague the rest of his life?
Was it the bed rest I had to endure for most of that pregnancy, when all I wanted to do was shout to the world that I was finally going to be a mom?
Was it the move across the country I never wanted to make, leaving family and friends and a life I had known for 33 years?
Was it the devastating news that my child had incurable cancer?
Was it the day I held my child while he died or the day that I buried him?
All of these events were so hard, so devastating in their own way.
But accepting them has been even harder.
I'll be the first to admit that I am a dreamer. And I am stubborn. And I pout. So when something doesn't turn out the way I want it to, I tend to feel very sorry for myself. I've been through some dark times, times that I didn't know what else to do. I fought stubbornly, yet helplessly, against the thing that was happening in my life at the time.
But with each devastating event, I've learned to get better at acceptance.
I didn't think there would be anything harder than infertility, than not getting to become the mother I always knew I would be. I refused to accept that as a path for my life, so I took it for myself through fertility treatments. And I wonder on a daily basis if these fertility treatments, if the decision I made, is the reason that Joey is not here any more and that Slim will have a rough road the rest of his life.
I'm still grappling with accepting that.
Pout as I did about our impromptu move across the country, I made the decision to set my stubbornness aside, for Hubby's sake, and accept that we would only be away from home for two years. And as soon as I did that, it became one of the best experiences of my life.
And when Joey was diagnosed, I spent much time and energy hating God because I had no other place to direct my anger. I was forced to accept what I knew would be a reality. There was no cure for my sweet, precious child, and that made me angry. I'm still angry, and I still wonder why it couldn't have happened to someone else.
But it happened to us, and every day I grow closer to accepting that our lives will be void of Joey. Void of his infectious laugh, his crazy ideas, his wonderful hugs.
I struggle with accepting that in his place are boys that are broken, sad over the loss of a best friend, missing a role model to guide them.
I struggle to accept Slim's ongoing mental and emotional difficulties and the mystery surrounding what his true diagnosis should be. I struggle to accept him the way he is and the way he will always be. To accept the personality I always feel like I have to "explain."
I struggle to accept that these are not the only devastating events that I will face in my life. The people you love get sick, they die, they don't always give you what you want or even need, and life isn't tied up in a pretty red bow for most of us.
I do accept that I don't have it any worse than another person. Other people have taught me that. But clearly, I am still struggling with accepting life's unexpected moments.
For me, for right now, acceptance has been the hardest thing I've ever done.
And the hardest thing I'm still trying to do.
This post was in response to the prompt,
"The hardest thing I ever did..."
What's the hardest thing you've ever done? Is it too hard to even share?